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|Main office (USA):||Nazareth, Pennsylvania|
|Established in:||Sydney, Australia|
|Staff members:||ca.100 (2006)|
|Branches in:||23 countries (2006)|
Open Air Campaigners (OAC) is an evangelistic ministry of preaching the gospel to lost people and mobilizing the body of Christ primarily through effective open-air preaching. This international ministry includes meetings in urban areas, at camp sites, beaches, residential and anywhere people can be found. Multitudes of people cannot or will not come into the local churches to hear the Good News, so OAC follows the example of Jesus in going out to where the people are.
OAC works as an outdoor arm of the church, assisting local churches in reaching out to their local communities and beyond. Effective open-air seminars and outreaches take place daily in over 20 countries around the world including Central and Eastern Europe, Asia, Northern and Southern America.
The roots of Open Air Campaigners goes back to Australia. On 10 March 1892 the “Coogee Open Air Mission” was founded. Quickly the open air meetings became regular arrangements on the beaches and in the inner city of Sydney.
With the first “Gospel Wagon” the ministry got a new name: Open Air Campaigners. At the beach of Coogee an open air Sunday School was created and the Goulburn Street became an “open air cathedral” for Sydney’s inhabitants.
When visiting an exhibition OAC evangelist Jim Duffecy discovered a huge wall painting. By using a so called ladder lettering an artist made advertising for an ice cream company. Mr. Duffecy took up this idea and developed the “sketchboard evangelism” which has been a characteristic trademark of OAC through the years up to an including today.
In the year 1954 the first overseas branch was founded in New Zealand. Jim Duffecy became a pioneer of the work of OAC. In North America he started the ministry in 1956 and later became the first president of OAC International. The first branch in Europe was Germany in 1963.
Today OAC International contains independent branches in over 20 countries having about 100 full-time evangelists and additional half-time evangelists. Short term mission outreach teams work in additional countries. For example, OAC Germany is working not only in Germany, but in the Slovakian Republic, Hungary, and additional countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
OAC evangelists prefer using visual aids like gospel object lessons, mime, drama, sleight of hand and “sketch board evangelism” (preaching with brush and paint on a sketch board). A further aim of OAC is to equip the local churches by assisting them with practical training and open-air seminars.
- Alan Bailey & Ulrich Hofius, Die beste Botschaft farbig erzählt: Ein Praxisbuch für missionarische Arbeit unter Kindern, Neunkirchen: Open Air Campaigners, 2008, ISBN 978-3-00-025108-5.
- Jim A. Duffecy, The Truceless Warefare Advances: The Story of Open Air Campaigners International, Daniels Publishing, 1983.
- Noel C. Gibson, The Fisherman's Basket: Open air and other methods of evangelism, Lawson: Mission Publications, 1984, ISBN 0-9591100-0-3.
- Ulrich Hofius & Dorothee Kluitenberg, Praxisbuch Open-Air-Arbeit: Das ABC der Evangelisation im Freien, Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler, 1996, ISBN 3-7751-2633-3.